Feeds

1.3 million phones found down back of the sofa in UK

Although not all in the same one, obviously

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More than half of mobiles reported stolen in the UK later turn up down the back of the sofa or somewhere similar, according to the UK Home Office.

Last week we asked the Home Office what happens to the 1.3 million handsets that they had told us were reported stolen, but don't appear in the official crime figures. Now we know - they turn up later, safe and sound.

The figures came in response to our coverage of the latest schemes to reduce mobile-phone crime, which were sponsored by The Technology Strategy Board*. They included a tag which bleeps if your handset is more than a few meters away, and a system that requests a PIN when the SIM is changed.

Those ideas were promoted with the information that 228 phones are reported stolen every hour in the UK, which adds up to around 2m phones every year. But Home Office statistics put the number of handsets stolen at 700,000, so we lodged a question about what happens to the other 1.3m handsets, but didn't get a reply in time for publication.

Well - now we know, apparently every year 1.3 million people in the UK report their phone stolen, then find it down the back of the sofa the following day.

There is an alternative explanation of course: the 228-per-hour is based on insurance claims, while 700,000 thefts are recorded by the police. It occurs to us that some people might be claiming for phones without reporting them stolen: perhaps even because they weren't stolen. That's not the kind of crime that tags, PINs or any other technological developments can solve.

They also wouldn't help with "mobile phone identity fraud", which the same promotion told us had "risen by 74% in the first half of 2009". We weren't at all clear what that entailed, except that no-one was dressing up as an iPhone.

We've now been advised that this crime involves people buying phone contracts under false names, thus getting the subsidised handset and not paying the monthly fee.

So it seems that the majority of mobile phone crime involves insurance fraud and people nicking stuff from shops, neither of which is going to be solved by the technology presented, and sponsored, by the HM Government. ®

* Which is, in turn, funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
Just in case? Unverified 'supersize me' iPhone 6 pics in sneak leak peek
Is bigger necessarily better for the fruity firm's flagship phone?
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?